How To Do Security Testing: Best Practices

The industry of software has a huge reputation and presence in almost every sector.
Most businesses utilize IT solutions and web-based systems to manage and maintain their business. The banking, payments, stock, purchasing and selling, and many other activities are conducted digitally these days.
The rise of digital business has made security testing extremely important. This article will show you the major steps to perform security testing.
1. Test The Accessibility
Access security should be your first priority to ensure the safety of your business and your customers.
Accessibility includes authentication and authorization. You decide who will get the accessibility and how much accessibility is allowed to an authenticated person.
This helps in ensuring that your data stays safe from internal and external breaches.
To conduct the accessibility test, you are required to test the roles and responsibilities of people in your company.
Hire a tester who is qualified for the job. He or she will generate multiple user accounts, including different roles.
security testing those generated accounts will help in ensuring the security level in terms of accessibility.
The same test can also include password quality, default login capacities, captcha test, and other password and login related tests.
2. Test The Protection Level of Data
The security of your data depends on:

  • Data visibility and usability
  • Data storage

While data visibility is about how much data is visible to users, the data storage involves the security of your database.
Proper security testing measures are required to ensure the effectiveness of data storage. However, you have to test first to check the vulnerabilities.
A professional tester can test the database for all kinds of critical data such as user account, passwords, billing and others.
It is important that the database stores all the important data. The transmission of data should be encrypted as well. The qualified tester also checks the ease of decryption of the encrypted data.
3. Test For Malicious Script
Hackers utilize XSS and SQL injection to hack a website. A malicious script is injected into the system of a site, which allows the hacker to control or manipulate the hacked website.
A tester can ensure the safety of your site against these practices.
The tester can check the maximum lengths allowed for the input fields. This restriction doesn’t allow a hacker to include these malicious scripts.
4. Test The Access Points
In today’s market, collaboration is the way of doing business. Many businesses collaborate on a digital level by providing services in a collaborative way.

Also Read : How to Test a Bank ERP System

For instance, a stock trading app has to provide consistent access to the latest data to the users and new visitors as well. But this open access also presents the risk of unwanted breach.
To immune from such attacks, a tester can check the entry points of the app.
The professional tester evaluates and ensures that all the access requests come from reliable IPs or application.
If not, the app system should have the capacity to reject those requests.
5. Test The Session Management
Session on the web includes the response transactions between your web server and the browser utilized by a user.
Testing the session management involves multiple actions such as expiry time of the session after a certain idle period, maximum lifetime of termination, session end time after a user logs out and others.
6. Test The Error Handling
Testing the error codes is important too. This includes the errors of 408, 400, 404, and others.
The tester can perform directed actions to reach such pages and ensure that the presented page doesn’t contain any critical data or information.
This helps in ensuring that all the data presented on error pages are safe and can’t help the hackers.
This test also includes the checkup of the stack traces, which can help the potential hackers to breach.
7. Test For Other Functionalities
Other functionalities that require testing are the file uploads and payments. These functions require thorough testing.
app testing
Any malicious file should be restricted. Also, the tester should check the vulnerabilities associated with the payments such as buffer overflows, insecure storage, password guessing, and other issues.
Apart from the mentioned tests, a professional tester can recommend others, according to the business model you have.
Conducting the tests in the mentioned way will help you ensure a comprehensive security of your digital presence.

How to Do Security Testing For Web Applications

Just like testing the performance of an application, it is also important to perform web application security testing for real users.  Security testing is performed to detect vulnerabilities in an application while ensuring that the data is protected and that the application works as required.
Why Web Application Security Testing?
Among the different kinds of applications, web applications demand more security as they involve large amounts of important data and online transactions. The web apps must be tested to ensure that they are not vulnerable to any cyber-attacks.
In order to perform web application security testing, the tester must be well versed in the HTTP protocol. He/she should have a clear understanding of how the client (browser) and server communicate using HTTP.
The tester is also expected to know at least the basics of SQL injection and XSS. Though the number of defects regarding the security of web apps is comparatively low, the tester must take note of each defect detected, in detail.
While performing security testing, here’s the list of vulnerabilities a tester must keep a check on:

Password cracking
The most common way of a cyber attacker to gain access to a web app is by cracking the password. They may try to guess the password or use a password cracking tool to conduct the same. Therefore, the security tester must ensure that the app demands a strong password that must be encrypted.
URL manipulation
It’s easy to edit the URL in a browser. Lack of security can cause the users to be redirected and confidential data being leaked. Therefore, it is important for the security tester to check if the application passes vital data through its URL string. The web app becomes vulnerable to URL manipulation mainly when the app uses the HTTP GET method to pass information between the server and the client, which is usually passed in parameters in the query string. A security tester can just change a parameter value to see if the server accepts it.
SQL injection
Sometimes, a hacker may feed in illegal SQL statements to a text entry field so as to get access to web app content. If not security tested, the hackers may make use of this vulnerability to add, change or erase the data from the SQL-based database of the web app. While security tested, is even a single quote entered into the text field is rejected by the application, we can make sure that the app is safe. However, if the tester enters a quote and the app accepts it, but, shows a database error, the web app is vulnerable to SQL injection.
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
It is important to make sure that the web app is not prone to cross-site scripting because if the attacker enters harmful script into your web app, you may end up unknowingly helping them to deliver the script to the people online.  Therefore, the tester must ensure that the application rejects any malicious data and if at all it accepts the data, it must not affect the backed.
It is always best to test the app as a whole from a hacker’s point of view. Think of the different technologies used in the making of the app, different levels of access that users have to go through to log in and how the data can be obtained or stored. This will help you to recognize prospective weak points and see if they are vulnerable to common types of cyber-attack.
Also, think of the different methods and scenarios a hacker will try to crack into the app. Do not ignore any points as the hacker may get in through the least expected path.
Steps of Security Testing
Now, talking about the steps to perform security testing, it differs from different organizations. However, the basic process remains the same.

  • Understand what the business is about and its security goals.  This helps to plan the test by considering all security needs of the organization while not going overboard
  • Understand and identify the security needs of the application
  • Gather all information regarding system setup information that was used for developing the web app and network such as the OS, technology, hardware, etc.
  • Identify the possible vulnerabilities and risks and make a list
  • Prepare a threat profile based on the list
  • Prepare test plan according to the identified possible vulnerabilities and risks
  • Prepare Traceability Matrix for each risk and vulnerability
  • Manual security testing can’t always be accurate and therefore, automated testing is also required. Make a list of the tools to be used for the same
  • Make the Security tests case document ready
  • Carry out the Security Test cases execution and once the identified defects have been fixed, retest
  • Execute the Regression Test cases
  • Create a detailed report on the security testing conducted, the vulnerabilities and risks identify and the risks that still persist.

Tools used For Web Application Security Testing

  1. Apache Jmeter
  2. Browser-stack
  3. Load UI Pro
  4. Ghostlab
  5. Sauce Labs
  6. JIRA
  7. Soap UI
  8. Test IO
  9. Acunetix
  10. Ranorex Webtestit
  11. Netsparker
  12. Experitest
  13. TestComplete
  14. LambdaTest
  15. Selenium
  16. Testcraft
  17. Watin
  18. Sahi
  19. HP UFT
  20. Testpad

With many advancements happening in this era of digitalization, we need to give considerable focus on filling gaps of vulnerability, minimizing hacker risks, and thereby securing our digital assets, in this case, web applications.